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Battleaxe is a heavy metal band from Sunderland, England. As one of the notable bands of the new wave of British heavy metal scene, they started out with the name Warrior and morphed into Battleaxe sometime in early 1980. The band consisted of Dave King (vocals), Brian Smith (bass), Steve Hardy (guitar), and Ian Thompson (drums). After playing around the area and honing their chops, they entered the studio to make a demo called "Burn This Town". In doing so, they garnered the attention of Roadrunner Records and the result was their first album, Burn This Town.
Once a deal had been struck with Roadrunner Records, the master tapes were sent to Roadrunner Records and the album title was agreed upon as Burn this Town. The record company asked the band for some concept ideas for the cover art work, so the guys asked a friend and local artist Arthur Ball if he could come up with anything. He then produced the first Burn this Town cover art work as it is now, but only as a rough proof drawing, and stated that, if it were approved by the record company, he would redraw the whole thing again to a much higher standard. However, when Roadrunner received the proof art work for approval, they went ahead and pressed 2000 units for a worldwide release without the band's consent. The original Burn this Town cover art work is one of the most talked-about album covers in heavy metal history. The graphic looked amateurish, and the band worried what it might do to their reputation. However, the music did the talking and the album sold well. The band began developing a reputation in the region as a solid heavy metal outfit.
Sometime after the recording of Burn This Town, maybe on tour, Ian Thompson either quit or was fired and another Ian, Ian McCormick, was brought in as their new drummer. This new dynamic added a different spark to the band and they continued building their reputation. Their efforts paid off when they entered the recording studio in Inverness, Scotland and did their second album, Power From The Universe for the Music For Nations label. This album showed a more refined and mature Battleaxe and contains the opening track "Chopper Attack."
Success seemed to be on their doorstep as they tore up venues throughout England. On the eve of a major appearance at Hammersmith Odeon London in support of Saxon on their Crusader tour, some A&R guys from Atlantic Records were showing interest. After the show, they wanted the band to organise a showcase for them. It was then, for still unknown reasons to the band and fans, that Steve Hardy quit and they had to pull out of what could have been a major signing. It took almost two years before a new lineup was found that was somewhere near the quality and spirit to what they had. This was a severe blow to their career and put the band on hold until they could regain their ground. That happened when they toured the UK in support of Madam X, who had to pull out of the tour due to an illness, leaving Battleaxe to headline. They finished the tour at the Dominion theatre in London. The new lineup added Mick Percy and John Stormont. That lead and rhythm guitar combination put a new level and fuller sound to the band's performances live as well as in the studio. Soon after, they went into Neat Records studio to record the tracks Radio Thunder, Girl Crazee, and Killer woman. These tracks were added to their current EP release Nightmare Zone. John Stormont, one of the best lead guitarists around at the time, contributed a phenomenal lead break performance on the track Killer Woman. Sadly, John left the band for domestic reasons, and afterward, there was a rotating door of musicians until 1987 when they recruited Jason Holt on guitar and Stew Curtan on drums (after Ian McCormack hung up his sticks). During this period of instability, the band were lucky enough to have met drummer Paul Atkinson from Newcastle, filling in now and then, but not quite joining the band until a very later date (He is now a full-fledged member, recently recording the YouTube video to the band's fast and furious track Chopper Attack [from the PFTU album] see below). With this lineup, their sound had fattened, being made more powerful and adding much versatility that was not possible with one guitarist. The power and energy from this new lineup was sensational. Unfortunately again, as the way bands tend to do, this promising new lineup lasted only a short time before the lack of demand in the UK for good quality British rock died and a new wave of death metal and grunge appeared. This made it hard for Battleaxe to tour. Metallica, when first appearing on the metal scene, wanted to tour the UK and Europe with Battleaxe but because of strange politics within the band, changed their minds. However Battleaxe were added to a compilation album with Metallica, Manowar, and other big-named bands. This album is detailed on the band's web site. In 1995/6/7/8 the band hired another guitarist for a short while and did a spectacular gig at Klenal Hall Biker's Festival in (Northumberland. Plans were made to record a third album, and they went into the studio to record the demos that were to become the recently released Nightmare Zone EP. The third album was originally going to be called Metal Edge, but they were not able to secure interest from a record label back then, and the band began to lose interest. Touring and live gigs at the time were impossible due to the sheer lack of funding. The YouTube video recording was then done with just a four-piece lineup of Mick Percy Guitar, Paul Atkinson [Paul AT Kinson] from Skyclad on drums, and the two founding members, Brian Smith Bass, and Dave King Vocals (not the Fastaway vocalist Dave King, which many people get mixed up with).
2013 the band had returned on to the Metal scene performing some great live shows with no label behind things were difficult regarding the new album and at a last resort were going to add all their music on to CD baby. Though the guys were offered deals with three or four small labels such as Limb Music Germany, and The Leaders in Italy, but nothing seamed right about the move to any of those labels so the guys kept plugging away at majors and amazingly thanks' to Olly Hahn signed a four-album deal with SPV STEAM HAMMER Now a part of Sony BMG Records. They re-released the first two albums 'Burn This Town' and 'Power From The Universe on the bands thirtieth anniversary and also the third release of their newest album'Heavy Metal Sanctuary with an optional fourth album which the band are currently writing. All three albums received fantastic reviews from around the World apart from one review in particular from the UK's Mr Geoff Barton who literally slagged the band into the ground regardless. (teamrock.com/review/2015-01-23/battleaxe-power-from-the-universe)
2014 saw the departure of drummer Paul AT Kinson following the KIT Festival in Germany. Paul had worked with the band on various demos and small shows since the early 1990s. Paul also helped to relaunch the band along with Dave King in 2007 - 2014, and was the producer of 2 official videos for the band during that period, as well as the main producer and co writer for the 2014 album Heavy Metal Sanctuary. At that time Tensions between the band members were soaring, and almost split the band apart. It was time to find equilibrium in the band again and bring back enjoyment of the music and playing live again as friends with out arguments. Ricky Squires (ex Heavy Metal Kids etc.) joined Battleaxe, replacing Kinson on drums, in May 2014 prior to their debut show at Bloodstock Open Air Festival. However, because of the distance between Ricky living in Ayrshire and the band in Newcastle upon Tyne, it became financially impossible and time consuming to continue rehearsing and writing on a regular basis. At the moment Battleaxe are using stand in session drummer Steve Rix who plays regular with Chris Tsangarides MORE Band and plan to use him on their new album over the coming months 2017/2018
Dave King vocals Mick Percy Guitar Brian Smith Bass Paul Atkinson, AT Kinson, Kinson, Drums.
== Lineup ==2016
current line-up ==2017 Dave King Vocals Mick Percy Guitar Brian Smith Bass Session stand in drummer Steve Rix 2017 the band are playing a second time around at this years Bro Fest in Newcastle upon Tyne Feb 24th/25th 2017 www.brofest.co.uk and are making their first ever appearance on American soil at The Legions of Metal Fest In Chicago Illinois USA on Friday May 19/20 2017. www.reggieslive.com/showtag/legions-of-metal-fest BATTLEAXE are working a new concept album and have yet to conclude a new title for it but here is a basic mp3 demo from the recordings Feb 2017 in a track called (Immortalised)...https://vimeo.com/202836123